The Detroit Red Wings made a minor trade with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday when they swapped two forwards in the minor leagues. The Red Wings roster has sometimes created some logjams, and this move frees things up a bit.
The Detroit Red Wings traded center Kyle Criscuolo to San Jose in exchange for center Jasper Weatherby. It’s a swap of AHL centers, but it allows some things to free up with the Red Wings’ own AHL squad.
Due to AHL rules, the Red Wings affiliate in Grand Rapids has to ensure they avoid having too many veteran players in the minor leagues. The AHL’s website, which has the 2022-23 rules handbook, shows the rule which states that the team cannot have too many veterans in the lineup.
As reported in a recent MLive piece about the trade, the rule is as follows:
"“Of the eighteen skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a game, at least thirteen must be qualified as “development players.” Of those 13, twelve (12) must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season.” –– AHL Veteran’s Rule as transcribed by Ansar Khan of MLive."
This keeps teams from stashing pro players in the minors and ensures fair talent distribution. That’s the base level of things. But the Red Wings are in a tough spot with this rule, with players like Alex Nedeljkovic and Jakub Vrana holding roster spots.
Moving Criscuolo and Weatherby allows them to open things up and have more freedom with the roster.
Detroit Red Wings trade for Jasper Weatherby, freeing up AHL logjam.
Jasper Weatherby is a 24-year-old out of Portland, Oregon, who was drafted by the San Jose Sharks during the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut in 2021-22, playing in 50 games with the Sharks, where he had five goals and six assists for 11 total points.
He’s a left-handed shooting center who will slot right into Criscuolo’s spot. Weatherby has played in 39 games for the San Jose Barracuda in 2022-23, with three goals and three assists for six total points.
Criscuolo, who had been around the Red Wings and Griffins organizations over the last handful of seasons, was replaced so the team could bring in Weatherby to free up space with the rule described above hand-cuffing their roster at times.
The Red Wings’ move with San Jose may not be the biggest, but it could open up some options for Jakub Vrana to get back on the ice. He was waived by the Red Wings and officially sent down to the minors and has been a healthy scratch.
The veteran’s rule has been at fault, but this move may allow Vrana to get back on the ice and help his value which plummeted off the deep end since the calendar flipped over to 2023.